As you may have heard, it’s time for summer vacation here at StoryWonk HQ, and we are taking the whole week off! No, ignore the sounds of furniture being moved and computers being cleaned; we’re definitely at the beach.

Since we aren’t releasing any new podcasts this week, though, we wanted to leave you with a little something to help while away those lazy summer days. We explored our extensive back catalog, and we each picked our favorite episode of all of our many podcasts. You’ll find the links below, and if we somehow missed your favorite episode, why not share it in the comments? There’s never been a better time to remember an old favorite, or discover something new!

Lani’s choices and comments are on the left, and mine are on the right.

The Light Bulb

The Light Bulb: Love What You Love
If we never accomplish anything else in our lives or our work, I’ll always be so grateful that we got to spread the message that you should never be ashamed of anything that gives you genuine joy. Alastair and I had such fun sharing our not-guilty-at-all pleasures, and I hope you all do, too!
The Light Bulb: Your New Quest
We spend so much of our time critiquing, dissecting and analyzing stories that it’s fun, from time to time, to just squee. The Quest was my favorite discovery of the first half of the year, and sharing our enthusiasm with you all was a fantastic experience!

The Scot And The Sassenach

The Scot And The Sassenach: Episode 11
I had so much fun talking to the brilliant Anne Kenney during this interview that it remains one of my favorite interviews I’ve ever done, and one of my favorite episodes of TSatS. One day, I’m gonna have to take that lady out for a drink!
The Scot And The Sassenach: Episode 17
We were amazed by Toni Graphia’s brilliant script for Rent when we first saw the episode, but by the time we reached our commentary track, we were ready to unpick it and marvel at the clockwork precision within. This is one of my favorite pieces of craft analysis we’ve ever recorded.


Dusted 22: A Crossbow and Tenure
Considering how dark and sad Passion (Season 2, Episode 17) is, it’s crazy how much fun it was to analyze it with Alastair! And the line “I have a crossbow and tenure” will always hit me as one of the funniest lines we’ve ever said on Dusted!
Dusted 28: Remedial Duct Tape
Season three is generally recognized as the best season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but it starts with a weird half-step; our discussion of Anne really opened my eyes to what works and what doesn’t in this episode, and after talking about it on the show, I felt like I’d figured it out for the first time.

We Used To Be Friends

We Used to Be Friends 4: You’re Strapless Red Satin
This is one of the first episodes of Veronica Mars where things really get cooking, and it was so fun to sit down with Alastair and talk all over this great mystery.
We Used To Be Friends 1: Pilot
We’ve talked about doing a Veronica Mars show for years, but it wasn’t we sat down to record the first episode of We Used To Be Friends that I realized how much fun it is to discuss this show — plus, one of the best pilots of all time!

The Journeyman Writer

The Journeyman Writer 21: Five Minutes
I was worried when Alastair started The Journeyman Writer. He has so little spare time in his week as it is, but once I listened to my first episode, I was completely struck by how smart and insightful he is on the life of a writer. I would listen to this podcast even if I wasn’t married to him; it’s brilliant, and this episode on the simplicity of wrenching five minutes out of your day to write is just one example of his thoughtful advice.
The Journeyman Writer 67: The Anatomy of a Subplot
This is one of the most crisp, clean and thorough podcasts I’ve ever recorded. Subplots are tricky things, but layering them over a rough outline of a thriller shows how they fit together, and, more importantly, relate to the main plot. This is a good one!

StoryWonk Sunday

StoryWonk Sunday 72: Doors And Promises
This is a simple StoryWonk Sunday in which Alastair and I tried to nail down our understanding of art vs. story (although it’s nowhere near that simple a dichotomy) and while we were still figuring it out, I really liked the metaphor we came up with, and I still use it in my classes to this day.
StoryWonk Sunday 88: We Are Groot
This one was a blast. Guardians of the Galaxy is a brilliantly deft and well-architected piece of storytelling, with one really interesting flaw — but to frame it, we had to break down the entire Marvel cinematic universe in three hours.

StoryWonk Sessions

The Incredibles
I fell a little more in love with Alastair during this recording when he talked about Randian objectivism in The Incredibles. He’s so smart, and it’s such a great Pixar movie; this was a really fun one to record!
Monsters Inc.
I think this was the best combination of what we tried to do on the Sessions: a great movie, analysis of the story craft and structure, and lots of speculation about the consequences of this world. Lani is a non-stop genius, and I’m particularly proud of how far we got into the text of one of my favorite movies!

StoryWonk Daily

StoryWonk Daily 66: Defining GMC
OMG, we sound so VERY NPR-at-3am in this one! Only 10 months after we first started dating, and four months after we started podcasting, and two days after we got married… which we announce very casually in the middle there. Such a difference from who we are now!
StoryWonk Daily 290: I Love It, I Hate It, Let’s Fight!
We disagree so rarely that it’s sometimes fun to throw down, podcast-style. In this show, we discussed Cloverfield, and found-footage movies in general. I’m a fan, Lani isn’t, and sparks flew — but more importantly, we really managed to figure out why some stories work for some people, and not for others.

Popcorn Dialogues

Down With Love
Be prepared for less-than-perfect audio quality, but Jenny Crusie and I got up in the middle of the night to watch a movie together, as best friends sometimes do, and we just had a fabulous time talking about this movie. It’s less about the analysis, and more about the fun of being best friends with Jenny Crusie. Such a good time!
Morning Glory
I’m cheating a little bit, because this was an episode of PopD that I recorded with Jenny, but it’s still one of my favorites: Jenny thinks about story with a precision that I both admire and adore, and seeing her apply that analytical skill to a surprisingly delightful movie doesn’t just make this one of my favorite podcasts, but one of my favorite memories!

Will Write For Wine

Will Write for Wine: Flaming Skulls and Acronyms
This was the third podcast I ever did, which was part of the WWfW series I did with author (and good friend) CJ Barry. It’s unpolished, but we were having such fun figuring out how to do this sort of thing and it was a lot of fun. I think it was the first time we ever cracked up this hard on the show, but certainly it wasn’t the last!
Will Write For Wine: A Dialogue on Dialogue
This was the first time I ever heard Lani’s voice on a podcast, so this episode is of WWfW is to blame for everything we do here at StoryWonk. It’s also one of the episodes that I’ve listened to most often, because Lani and CJ know their stuff. Someday I’ll produce a podcast as good as this one!

Thanks for a great first half of 2015, everyone! We’ll be back next week!